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2018 Laser North American Championship at Alamitos Bay Yacht Club - Preview

by Betsy Crowfoot 10 Jul 16:17 BST 12-15 July 2018
Alamitos Bay Yacht Club © ABYC

Alamitos Bay Yacht Club (ABYC) will shimmer with the glow of over 160 Laser sailors, when it hosts the 2018 Laser North American Championship July 12 to 15. In addition to Laser Standard, Laser Radial and Laser 4.7 titles, some will by vying to qualify for the 2019 Pan American Games to be held during July in Lima, Peru.

As the close of entries approaches tomorrow (July 10), entries have soared, with 26 nations to be represented in the four-day international regatta. In addition to world-class competition and camaraderie, racers will enjoy a morning briefing, daily refreshments, a regatta dinner, and souvenir.

Dedicated dinghy and small sailboat racers have known for decades that "ABYC is the place to be." Since 1924, ABYC has provided a vital platform for the yacht racing community, fueled by a strong base of volunteers and excellent race management. The club hosts five to 10 championship regattas each year, including regional, national, world and North American championships, such as this; in dinghy, keelboat, and multihull classes. That's in addition to 14 regularly scheduled regattas, plus an active junior program.

"Alamitos Bay Yacht Club has a long tradition of hosting international regattas, bringing the best sailors in the world to Long Beach," explained Principal Race Officer Mark Townsend USA, IRO. "ABYC last hosted the Laser North American Championship in 2014. With the Olympic Games sailing competition due to be contested in these same waters in 2028, we are expecting even more of the world's top sailors to be heading to Long Beach over the next 10 years."

The Laser NAs will commence with registration at ABYC Wednesday July 11, continuing Thursday; with races starting daily at 11:55AM Thursday through Sunday. A total of 12 races are scheduled, on trapezoid courses held inside the Long Beach Breakwater near the Belmont Pier, or in the outside waters of San Pedro Bay.

With the number of entrants mounting, organizers will likely divide the fleet into Gold/Silver finalists, based on a qualifying series. Prizes will be awarded to the top positions in each fleet; plus, the Bruce Kirby Cup to the highest placing male in Laser Full Rig and the North American Radial Championship Trophy to the highest placing finisher in that field.

Competitors include a strong North American contingent, such as defending 2017 Laser champion Malcolm Lamphere, and runner-up in the 2017 Laser Radials, Sophia Reineke. The world-wide field of competitors also includes many from Central and South America, and the Caribbean, as the regatta will serve as the country qualifier for next year's Pan American Games. The Pan Am Games provide Olympic style competition for athletes from 41 recognized nations of the Americas – however there are slots for only 16 contenders in the 2019 Games. The ABYC 2018 Laser NA regatta is the second of just three opportunities to qualify.

Optimal conditions are forecast for the North Americans. July is one of the best times of the year to sail in Long Beach, with a westerly sea breeze which builds each afternoon to the mid-teens. The current sunny, warm conditions are expected to continue in Southern California, fueling the prevailing winds and providing thrilling competition.

ABYC is idyllically situated on Alamitos Bay, at 7201 East Ocean Boulevard, in Long Beach, Calif. Its modern waterfront clubhouse facility is located conveniently close to the harbor entrance, with a paved boat yard and excellent access to the adjacent beach, where competitors' boats will be stored overnight.

In addition to PRO Townsend, Ed Spotskey chairs the event, with Ben Fels AUS, IJ, as Chief Judge.

While online entries will be accepted until July 10, after that date they may be accepted in person: racers are encouraged to inquire. Visit www.abyc.org for all details on registration and the event.

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